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Tab 1

Overview

coconut crab from Solomon Islands

​The East Melanesian Islands biodiversity hotspot consists of the island nations of Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, as well as the islands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG), which includes the provinces of Manus, New Ireland, East New Britain and West New Britain plus the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. 

These islands qualify as a biodiversity hotspot due to their high levels of endemism and accelerating levels of habitat loss, caused chiefly by widespread commercial logging and mining, expansion of subsistence and plantation agriculture, population increase, and the impacts of climate change and variability.

Notable endemic species include the majestic Solomons sea eagle (Haliaeetus sanfordi) and many species of flying fox. The East Melanesian Islands also harbor a diverse and unique group of flora and fauna including 3,000 endemic vascular plant species, 41 endemic mammals, 148 endemic birds, 54 endemic reptiles, 45 endemic amphibians and three endemic freshwater fishes. The hotspot is a terrestrial conservation priority, and habitats include coastal vegetation, mangrove forests, freshwater swamp forests, lowland rainforests, seasonally dry forests and grasslands, and montane rainforests.

The hotspot also holds exceptional cultural and linguistic diversity. Vanuatu, for example, has 108 living languages: more per unit area than any other country. The Solomon Islands, with 74 languages, are only slightly less diverse. Because many languages are spoken by only a few hundred people, they are dying out or mixing into pidgin-Austronesian creoles, leading to a rapid erosion of traditional knowledge and practice. This is highly significant in a region where most land and resources are under customary ownership, and local people are true stewards of biodiversity.​​

Tab 2

Strategy

eyelash frog Solomon Islands

The CEPF investment strategy for the East Melanesian Islands is based on a 14-month consultation process, coordinated by the University of the South Pacific, the University of Papua New Guinea and Conservation International’s Pacific Islands Program, which engaged more than 150 stakeholders from government, civil society and local communities.

The strategy recognizes local communities as the ultimate custodians of biodiversity, and outlines a suite of approaches to empower communities and build supportive networks of civil society organizations at local, regional and national levels.

Drawing on lessons learned from past conservation programs in the region, conservation interventions will be developed gradually, to allow sufficient time for trust and understanding to be built among partners, for capacity and knowledge to be transferred, and for long-term funding to be identified and secured. Central to the sustainability strategy of the CEPF investment program in the East Melanesian Islands Hotspot will be an explicit focus on capacity building for local and national civil society through partnerships, networks and mentoring.

Because of the need to invest heavily in capacity building, the investment period in the East Melanesian Islands will be eight years, from 2013 to 2021.

The CEPF investment strategy for the East Melanesian Islands Hotspot has five strategic directions:

1. Empower local communities to protect and manage globally significant biodiversity at priority key biodiversity areas underserved by current conservation efforts.

2. Integrate biodiversity conservation into local land-use and development planning.

3.  Safeguard priority globally threatened species by addressing major threats and information gaps.

4. Increase local, national and regional capacity to conserve biodiversity through catalyzing civil society partnerships.

5. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of conservation investment through a regional implementation team.

Tab 3

Priorities
CEPF STRATEGIC DIRECTIONS CEPF INVESTMENT PRIORITIES

1. Empower local communities to protect and manage globally significant biodiversity at priority Key Biodiversity Areas under-served by current conservation efforts

1.1 Conduct baseline surveys of priority sites that build government-civil society partnerships and bridge political boundaries

1.2 Raise awareness about the values of biodiversity and the nature of threats and drivers among local communities at priority sites

1.3 Support local communities to design and implement locally relevant conservation actions that respond to major threats at priority sites

1.4 Demonstrate conservation incentives (ecotourism, payments for ecosystem services, conservation agreements, etc.) at priority sites

2. Integrate biodiversity conservation into local land-use and development planning

2.1 Conduct participatory ownership and tenure mapping of resources within customary lands at priority sites

2.2 Provide legal training and support to communities for effective enforcement of environmental protection regulations

2.3 Explore partnerships with private companies to promote sustainable development through better environmental and social practices in key natural resource sectors

3. Safeguard priority globally threatened species by addressing major threats and information gaps

3.1 Conduct research on six globally threatened species for which there is a need for greatly improved information on their status and distribution

3.2 Develop, implement and monitor species recovery plans for species most at risk, where their status and distribution are known

3.3 Introduce science-based harvest management of priority species important to local food security

4. Increase local, national and regional capacity to conserve biodiversity through catalyzing civil society partnerships

4.1 Strengthen the capacity of local and national civil society organizations in financial management, project management and organizational governance

4.2 Provide core support for the development of civil society organizations into national and regional conservation leaders

4.3 Strengthen civil society capacity in conservation management, science and leadership through short-term training courses at domestic academic institutions

5. Provide strategic leadership and effective coordination of conservation investment through a Regional Implementation Team

5.1 Operationalize and coordinate CEPF’s grant-making processes and procedures to ensure effective implementation of the investment strategy throughout the hotspot

5.2 Build a broad constituency of civil society groups working across institutional and political boundaries towards achieving the shared conservation goals described in the ecosystem profile

Tab 4

Maps
East Melanesian Islands map

Conservation Outcomes

PDF Map
Map, English (PDF - 1.3 MB)
Map, French (PDF - 1.3 MB)

Tab 5

Documents
CORE DOCUMENTS
  • Ecosystem profile, December 2012 (PDF - 3.9 MB)

  • Ecosystem Profile Summary Brochure
    English (PDF - 3.4 MB)
    French (PDF - 3.4 MB)
    ​​​
  • GEF Focal Point Endorsement
    Papua New Guinea, English (PDF - 262 KB)
    Solomon Islands, English​ (PDF - 418 KB)
    Vanuatu, English (PDF - 77 KB)

Newsletters

IUCN Oceania Newsletter

Regional Resources

Ecosystem Profile, December 2012 (PDF - 3.9 MB)​​​

Ecosystem Profile Summary Brochure
English (PDF - 3.4 MB)
French (PDF - 3.4 MB)

Recent Newsletters
IUCN Oceania Newsletter
  • October 2013
    English (PDF - 483 KB)
Coconut crab (Birgus latro) in the Solomon Islands, © Piotr Naskrecki; eyelash frog (Ceratobatrachus guentheri) in the Solomon Islands, © Piotr Naskrecki